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Coco Fiber Coco Chips
“Coco coir” (Coconut fiber) is from the outer husk of coconuts. What was once considered a waste product, is one of the best growing mediums available. Although coco coir is an organic plant material, it breaks down and decomposes very slowly, so it won’t provide any nutrients to the plants growing in it, making it perfect for hydroponics. Coco coir is also pH neutral, holds moisture very well, yet still allows for good aeration for the roots. Coco fiber comes in two forms, coco coir (fiber), and coco chips. They’re both made of coconut husks, the only difference is the particle size. The coco fiber particle size is about the same as potting soil, while the coco chips particle size is more like small wood chips.
The larger size of the coco chips allows for bigger air pockets between particles, thus allowing even better aeration for the roots. Also, if you’re using baskets to grow your plants in, the chips are too big to fall through the slats in the baskets. Both the fiber and chips come in compressed bricks, and once soaked in water it expands to about 6 times the original size. Coco fiber does tend to color the water, but that diminishes over time. And you can leach out most of the color if you soak it in warm/hot water a few times before use.
Grow Rock (Hydro corn)
Grow rock is a Lightweight Expanded Clay Aggregate (L.E.C.A.), That is a type of clay which is super-fired to create a porous texture. It’s heavy enough to provide secure support for your plant’s, but still light weight. Grow rocks are a non-degradable, sterile growing medium that holds moisture, has a neutral pH, and will pick up nutrient solutions to the root systems of your plants. Hydro corn grow media is reusable, it can be cleaned, sterilized, then reused again. Although on a large scale, cleaning and sterilizing large amounts of grow rocks can be quite time consuming. Grow rock is one of the most popular growing mediums used for hydroponics, and just about every store selling hydroponics supplies carries it.
Rockwool is one of the most common growing mediums used in hydroponics. Rockwool is a sterile, porous, non-degradable medium that is composed primarily of granite and/or limestone which is super-heated and melted, then spun into a small thread like cotton candy. The rockwool is then formed into blocks, sheets, cubes, slabs, or flocking. Rockwool sucks up water easily so you’ll want to be careful not to let it become saturated, or it could suffocate your plants roots, as well as lead to stem rot and root rot. Rockwool should be pH balanced before use. That’s done by soaking it in pH balanced water before use.